Four months post op and our little puppy was at the National Dog Show for her first show. Showing is something I don’t take seriously, I don’t think I ever could for so many reasons but it is good for pups. I showed Dill, only I think three shows in the end but he improved massively. Raven took her first show better than I could have ever imagined.
I will be honest, I didn’t even know how she would be in a hall with people and dogs, she had her first gundog lesson last week, in part so that she had at least worked around dogs in a class type setting even if it was outside. She coped with gundog lessons really well but it did get a little much when there were two dogs at a time hunting for dummys and a lot of barking from other dogs. I went home at this point so she wouldn’t just go silly, she is so easy with training at the moment that I don’t want her learning bad habits.
So first gundog lesson went really well. We have a lot to work on but being that she has only had a couple of weeks offlead where we can start doing stuff with her, she did amazingly well.
So then we had Sunday… the show. It started off badly as we drove to the wrong place – my fault entirely! But because we left early we had enough time to get to where we needed to be and even when we did arrive we still had ages as the showing was taking so long. I was a little thankful that we had a bit of a wait as it meant we could take Raven in and see how she coped. Apparently Paul was right and I really was worrying over nothing. She was a little woofy but I wouldn’t have said any more then she is normally. She definitely doesn’t have the confidence she did have as a pup and met each dog cautiously. She liked some more then others and apparently isn’t keen on over exburent dogs. She also properly jumped at a german longhaired pointer that was kicking off at loads of dogs, that properly terrified her but I managed to bring her round, thankfully letting her hang out with dogs I knew were friendly and solid meant she chilled really well.
So we got in the ring, I don’t know if she stood as well as I know she can because if I am honest I wasn’t paying massive amounts of attention, I just wanted her to be comfortable and I was so nervous. I don’t even know why I was nervous because I knew she wouldn’t win either of her classes but I will get to that in a minute.
Raven was amazing. She wasn’t keen on her teeth being checked but I know thats an issue and we are working on it. She gave the judge a good sniff but she stood there really well and let the judge go over her. She then moved beautifully. I completely let her down at times but as the video above shows, she moves so well. She was also really tired so by time she had to move in puppy class I think she decided trotting was a bit boring and she wanted to run, then she wanted to jump over the fence and I think she wanted to just do something else. I don’t blame her. Unfortuantly for her I have another three shows booked for her, again, not expecting winning or anything, just so that she can get experience, get used to handling and cope in that kind of environment.
So why do I expect to get no where with her? Well there is a slightly obsession in the breed at the moment about ‘bone’. This is basically when dogs are ‘bigger boned’ than others and something Raven lacks is ‘bone’. She also lacks forechest, these are two weaknesses I knew about when I got her but the thing is no dog is perfect. She has amazing angles both front and back, her rear is just stunning (yes I am biased but just look at that rear!). She has a lovely topline too, though she still has a habit of looking a bit roached at times but we are working on it and she is improving all the time. So there is a lot to like about her but she isn’t a ‘flashy’ dog, she won’t stick out against the lighter dogs and she lacks bone and she isn’t fat. So she has a few things against her but I really am aware of her faults, I know the faults in all our dogs. Dill has quite a few, as do the other two. It is healthy to know your dogs faults as well as their good qualities.
So yes I am bias, I think Raven is a great dog but I know she will be over looked. Really nice dogs get over looked in the show ring all the time and I think if you took showing too seriously it could really upset/stress some people out. To me, I don’t care! As long as Raven is happy and works well then she has a job (of sorts) and I am happy. After all she really is a very special girl.
Our aim for this show was to qualify for Crufts. I have never shown a dog at Crufts and would love to, even if it is just the once… She did qualify so we get to go! We will enjoy everything we do together, we will ignore what everyone else might say or think and continue on our journey together. It has been a crazy four months and we have a long way to go still but for the first time I feel like we can do some normal stuff together. My plan for her may have changed a lot but we will find something to do together. I do so love this pup.